A/N: Hey all. A little plot bunny popped into my head last night as I celebrated the holidays with the fam. This will be updated daily and will only be about fourteen or so chapters, total. Hope you enjoy, and hope all those celebrating the holidays right now are having a banging time!
All characters belong to S. Meyer. I'm just celebrating the holidays with them.
Michelle Renker Rhodes beta'd this chappy quick-fast!
Chapter 1 - The First Day...
"…make my dreams come true," I sang lowly from the back seat of the cab, mimicking the voice on the radio, "all I want for Christmas is you."
Rosalie looked over at me and chuckled quietly, shaking her head while long blond hair cascaded to the front of her chest. She leaned in and whispered, "Edward, babe, don't quit your day job. Singing is definitely not your strong point."
I snorted and brought my lips to her ear, "You didn't mind me singing to you in the shower last night."
She grinned wryly, eyes facing front. "That's because everyone sounds good in the shower."
"You sound really good in the shower." I bit her lobe and imitated all those noises she made last evening, making her squirm in her seat.
She drew in a deep breath just as the cab slowed. "We're here."
I leaned back and looked out the window at the house where the cab finally came to a stop. It was a white, tudor-style house, a bit older looking but well maintained. The snow on the rooftop and on the window panes gave it a holiday postcard look.
I paid the driver and pulled out the luggage from the trunk and then stood there with Rosalie, my girlfriend of six months, staring up at the house. She'd been fine the whole plane ride over here from New York, but now I thought I detected a note of nervousness, apprehension even, in her expression- in her light blue eyes.
"You okay?" I asked her with a smile.
"Yeah, I'm fine." She didn't sound too convincing though. And with a jerk of her head towards the house, she led the way, murmuring more to herself, "I wonder if everyone's here yet."
I balanced a carry-on under each arm and carried one in each hand as I followed her up the driveway, taking in my wooded surroundings. Washington State was definitely different from New York and even from Chicago, where I was from. In Manhattan, the snow would be sticking to concrete buildings, turning to slush in front of dozens of yellow cabs. Here, in this small town called Forks, it glittered off of dozens of trees and bushes, sparkled like jewels off long, thin branches.
A man with dark, curly hair and equally dark mustache opened the front door. His eyes sparkled when he took in his daughter.
"Rosie, hon, you made it before your sister!" His arms encircled her tightly, and she returned the hug just as tight.
"Not surprising, dad. Well, we're here, if that's any consolation." She pulled back and reached back for my hand. I put down the luggage.
"Dad, this is Edward Masen. Edward, this is my dad, Charles Swan."
We shook hands and offered each other obligatory greetings as Rosalie's dad looked me up and down, a small smirk on his lips. I guess I couldn't really blame him. Your daughter brings home a guy for the holidays - as a dad, you gotta give him a hard time.
Rose's mom though…
"Rosalie!" she screeched as she came to the door and hugged Rose even tighter than her dad had. But then she didn't even wait for introductions before wrapping me up in an equally suffocating bear hug.
She laughed. "You must be Edward! Rosalie's told us so much about you!"
"Edward Masen, ma'am, it's good to meet you," I managed to murmur after Rose's mom let me up for air. She was strikingly beautiful for a woman of her age, which had to be at least mid-fifties since Rose was twenty-eight and had a brother four years her senior. Very few wrinkles graced her pale, porcelain face. Her eyes were the same light shade of blue as Rose's, and they both had the same long, blond hair and tall, graceful figure. According to this picture, my girlfriend would age well - a good thing to know since I planned to propose on New Year's Day. I grinned to myself.
Rose's mom looked behind her, as if looking for someone, before turning her blue eyes back to me.
"Oh, I thought my mom had suddenly flown in from Phoenix when I heard you say ma'am because I am definitely NOT a ma'am. Please Edward, call me Renee."
I laughed. "Renee, then."
Loud voices and barking pored in from the hallway beyond, and then more people and two large dogs came to greet us. Rosalie introduced me to her older brother, Jasper, his wife, Alice, and their two young daughters, Charlotte and Victoria. Unlike her dad, Jasper clapped me on the back and welcomed me openly, and his wife was just as friendly. The German Shepherds wagged their tails until Rosalie gave them each a light pat, and then they walked away through the hallway. We all gathered around the front room while they asked us how our flight went, and we made the type of initial small talk people who are just meeting for the first time make.
"Alright guys, let's give Rose and Edward and chance to settle in, and then we'll all gather in the living room and get to know each other better," Renee announced after a few minutes. "Maybe by then you're your sister will have finally arrived."
I heard Jasper chuckle. "Yeah right, mom."
"Rose, honey, your room is all ready for you and Edward."
I cleared my throat uncomfortably, though Renee seemed absolutely fine with her eldest daughter and I sharing a room for the next five days. I refused to look at her dad, though, because I had a feeling he'd be glaring daggers at me, the way he'd surreptitiously been doing so since we'd arrived.
"Thanks, mom," Rose said while I mumbled my own thanks and picked up our luggage.
"They all seem really great," I said honestly, once we were in Rose's old bedroom. I was unpacking my clothing and putting it all in either her dresser or her closet, depending on the clothing item. The room was pretty nice: beige walls, pictures of serene landscapes on the wall, a full-size sleigh bed; everything neat and orderly, just as I would've expected of her. "Even your ex-cop dad."
"They are," she said with a smile in her voice. She stood by the edge of the bed, her shirt off as she shimmied out of her jeans. A pretty brown and gold sweater dress lay on the bed next to her, and as I watched her prepare to put it on, I wondered if I could convince her to let me give her a quick fuck before she put it on.
"They loved you by the way," she added, her back to me while she flipped the dress over her head.
I walked over to her quickly and stopped her actions, kissing the back of her neck and holding her waist with one hand while the other hand trailed to cup what her thong barely covered.
"Of course they loved me." I trailed kisses along her collarbone. "I'm good-looking, successful, I've got a great personality and am extremely easy to get along with."
"Don't forget humble," she teased.
I snorted while my hand rubbed her ass. "Like I said, they all seem really great, too."
"Most of them are."
I chuckled, because I knew who she was referring to. "So where was she, anyway?"
Rosalie snaked her hands around my neck, keeping her back to me and pressing her ass purposely up against my groin. I groaned, and she laughed lowly.
"Mom said she called and said she'd be late, that she had something important to take care of for school before she left. But I wouldn't be surprised if mom was just covering for her." I could hear the eye roll in her voice.
"It was probably important," I said, more to appease Rosalie than with any real assurance because though I'd never met her little sister, from the picture Rose had painted of her, whatever was delaying little sis probably wasn't all that important at all.
"Trust me, Edward," she sighed, "It probably isn't. The rest of us have to get here early on the twenty-third, or else they'll be hell to pay, but Bella probably wanted to hit one more holiday frat party before coming home, and now we all have to wait for her."
I chuckled again. "Rose, baby, don't worry about your little sister right now." I trailed my hand slowly from her ass, to her hip, and then felt the light fuzz between the apex of her thighs. My finger moved slowly, and her breath hitched. "How about if I help you forget-"
"Rose!" A voice suddenly called out. "Honey, are you and Edward almost ready? The rest of us are waiting for you both to go cut down the Christmas tree!"
Rosalie quickly pushed my hand and moved away from me, hurriedly throwing her dress on. I dropped my head and smirked.
She laughed quietly. "I guess I should tell you now, my house is kind of crazy for the holidays. We probably won't get much time for that."
"Now you tell me," I joked.
She snickered and came to wrap her arms around my shoulders. "I'll make it up to you later. Come on, they're waiting for us."
I cleared my throat. "Uhm…do you mind if I take a rain check on the tree cutting. I've got a couple of work emails to send out before I completely turn off for the holidays." I gave her the crooked grin I knew she loved. "Why don't you go catch up with your family and let them tell you what they really think of me without me around, and I'll meet you downstairs when you all get back?"
She grinned wryly. "I already told you, they love you. My family wears their hearts on their sleeves, Edward," she smirked. For a second, I wondered why she always made it so hard for me to read her if the rest of her family were such open books. But difficult to read or not, Rosalie Swan was beautiful, smart, impressive, and…and I supposed everything else a man could ever want in a wife.
She left, in her brown and gold dress and tall brown boots, looking every bit like a runway model, and after finishing up my unpacking, I pulled out my cell phone and called my own parents. I spoke to my dad for a while about sports, as we usually did, and then he put my mom on, and I reminded her that I'd be there on the twenty-seventh with my girlfriend.
"Mom, uhm…do you still have grandmother's ring?"
My mother was silent for a while. "Yes," she said slowly.
"I'd…I'd like to talk to you about it when I get there."
Elizabeth Masen sighed. "Your grandmother's ring is very special, Edward. Just remember that whoever it goes to should be someone equally as special. Someone you can't see yourself living without for the rest of your life."
After we hung up, my mother's words resonated in my head: "…someone you can't see yourself living without for the rest of your life."
In my mind, I pictured what the rest of my life would consist of. I pictured a time when I'd own my own Architectural Agency, instead of working for someone else's, a time when I'd be ready for children, and a time when I'd be ready to move out of the apartment in New York City and buy myself my own house. I pictured someone next to me during all those occasions, but the strange thing was, in my mind's eyes, Rosalie looked smaller, not as tall as she was, and her hair looked…darker….
But that was just the result of a lifetime of not knowing exactly who to picture there. The picture would change in time, especially once I put the ring on Rosalie's finger.
With all my phone calls and emails taken care of, I wandered downstairs, searching for the kitchen. After a long day of travel, I was thirsty and hungry.
The dogs greeted me at the bottom of the steps.
"Hey guys," I grinned at them, "What do you say to showing me where I can get some grub around here?"
The dogs both looked at me curiously, tongues hanging out and then walked away through the hallway. I followed them and emerged at a large kitchen, grinning to myself.
Sure that Rosalie's parents wouldn't mind, I prepared myself a PB&J and a cup of milk while I waited for their return. The skies outside were getting dark, and a few flurries made their way to the ground, and as I stared out of the large, bay window, the flakes gathered together and formed a light blanket that shimmered lightly-
The phone rang.
I jumped slightly because I'd been lost in thought, and because…well I wasn't exactly sure why. Maybe it was because being in a home that wasn't my own, I wasn't sure if I should answer or not. I looked over and saw the phone propped up on the kitchen island, the red light blinking away as it rang and rang. My heart picked up speed as the light taunted me, as the ringing continued.
What should I do?
I stared at the dogs who'd come to rest at my feet. They looked up at me expectantly, tails wagging, tongues hanging.
The phone continued ringing.
With a deep breath, I strode over to the counter and picked it up.
There was no answer at first. And then, an unsure voice.
"Is this…is this the Swan residence?"
"Yes, it is."
She laughed. Whoever was on the other line laughed the sweetest, purest laugh I'd ever heard in my life. It literally made my heart stop for a few seconds. And then she spoke.
"This is Bella. Who is this?"
Her voice was soft and strong at the same time, and I could hear a note of mischief in it.
"This is Edward, Edward Masen."
"Rosalie's Edward?" she cried enthusiastically, as if I'd said I was the President or something.
"Edward!" she exclaimed, "I'm your girlfriend's little sister!"
"Bella, I've heard a lot about you," I said, a wry grin on my face.
"Uh oh." She chuckled again. "That can't be good."
I simply laughed in reply because really, Rosalie rarely, if ever, had anything good to say about her twenty-one year old sister, so I was better off not answering.
"Anyway," she said, "I see you can neither confirm nor deny that statement. Is anyone home?"
"No, they're not here."
She sighed. "Alrighty then, you're going to have to do me a favor."
She sounded so mischievous, and I immediately decided that whatever favor she was going to ask of me, I was going to do my best to comply.
"Go ahead," I said, knowing she could hear the laughter in my voice.
"Well, you've sort of already ruined my plan."
"Have I?" I snorted.
"Yes," she chuckled. "See, something really important came up last minute, and I'm not going to be able to come home until tomorrow, and I know my parents were going to be upset. And since I knew they wouldn't be home right now-"
"How'd you know they wouldn't be home right now?"
"Because they always go cut down the Christmas tree on the twenty-third right before twilight. That way when they come home it's nice and dark, and they can watch all the neighborhood Christmas lights twinkling. It's really very festive," she finished in a curious tone of seriousness.
"And you don't like festive?" I questioned.
"I love festive!" she replied quickly.
I chuckled again. "So why don't you go with them?"
"What makes you so sure I don't usually go with them?" she asked, but I could hear the teasing in her tone.
"Because you said 'they' always go cut down the Christmas tree, not 'we.'"
"You caught that, huh?"
She giggled - a hearty giggle full of life.
"If you must know, Mr. Masen, I don't believe in cutting down trees for Christmas. It's barbaric. All those poor thousands and thousands of trees cut down year after year for our holiday merriment."
"So you don't believe in Christmas trees?" My lips twitched with humor.
"Of course I do! But I believe in store-bought trees that save our forests."
I laughed out loud heartily.
"Don't laugh at me!" she insisted, all the while laughing herself. "Do you know how many acres of forest we'd save every year if everyone bought a fake tree?"
"What about that nice, freshly cut tree smell?"
"That's what Glade is for."
I laughed again.
"Look, I can see you and I aren't going to agree on this, Edward," she joked, "so let's get back to the subject at hand."
"Okay," I chuckled one last time. "What was the subject at hand again?"
"Well, my original plan was to call while everyone was out, and then leave this heartbreaking message, full of tears and apologies, saying that I wouldn't be able to make it home tonight, but that I'd make sure I'd see everyone bright and early tomorrow. Oh, I planned to put on an Oscar-worthy performance over that voice-mail, but now you've gone ahead and answered the phone and ruined my plan!"
I smirked. "And what are we supposed to do about that now?"
"Now, Edward" – there was something about the way she kept saying my name that made me shiver – "YOU will have to pass on the message, and you'll have to pass on the remorse you heard in my voice, and the tears you heard falling, and the sadness in my tone!"
"But you don't sound the least bit sad or remorseful!" I snorted.
"Edward!" she whined, and I could almost see her stomping her feet. "You owe me this!"
"Do I?" I asked incredulously.
We were both silent for a few seconds, but I could hear her breaths over the phone, and for a second I pictured the lips they were coming from, how full and mischievous they probably were.
"On one condition," I finally said.
She sighed out in obvious relief. "What is it?"
"Your family is really anxious to see you. Make sure you get here as soon as you can tomorrow, okay?" I finished off gently, wanting her to know I wasn't trying to be a prick, but for some reason, I wanted to make sure she got here as soon as she could.
She was strangely silent again.
Finally, she answered quietly. "I promise, Edward," – her voice wrapped itself around my name. "I'll be there as soon as possible. Despite what Rosalie may have told you about me, I'm not that much of a spoiled, self-centered, uncaring bitch."
"Not that much?" I teased again.
She chuckled. "No, not that much."
See you tomorrow!
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